As part of the Primary Capital Programme series of art commissions, Architectual practice Studio Weave has developed an art work for Sea Mills Primary School, Sea Mills Bristol.
Studio Weave is a young, energetic architecture practice working on a diverse set of projects across the country. Their work ranges from furniture and exhibition design, to shelters and buildings, to urban planning and landscapes. They have been involved in the development of several award winning schemes including most recently their Lullaby Factory, constructed from a network of listening pipes in a back courtyard of London's Great Ormond Street Hospital to create a secret factory of lullabies for children. They have won numerous awards for their work including (for Ecology of Colour) 3 RIBA Awards, including South East Building of the Year; a Civic Trust Award and Special Award for Community Impact and Engagement for their project ‘The Longest Bench’ and a Special Prize in European Copper in Architecture Awards for their project Freya, at Kielder Water.
For Sea Mills, Studio Weave has designed a wooden decked structure surrounding a pond. The space is designed for outdoor teaching with two tiers of raised seating, which allow for class sessions. Sections of the decking jut out over the water to allow students to pond dip and collect wildlife. The work is situated in a quite area of the school and invites contemplation and reflection.
The colour scheme used within the design is typical of the signature colours associated with Studio Weave’s practice. The herringbone patterns of the decking echoes the twill theme that was uncovered in Studio Weave’s site research into the history of Sea Mills and it’s associations with woven fabrics characterised by diagonal lines made in the mills along the water in Sea Mills.
To construct the design, Arnolfini worked with the British Trust Conservation volunteers who cleared out the old pond, preserving plants and wildlife that could become part of the new scheme. The artists worked with Bristol City Council Parks department to develop a year round planting scheme that added sculptural forms attract wildlife and contribute to the ecology of the pond.
Studio Weave’s project for Sea Mills extends the schools outdoor activities and teaching opportunities, returning a previously derelict pond space into an attractive and usable space for children to play, learn and catch frogs.
This commission is funded by Bristol City Council.
Described as ‘one of Britain’s most promising young architects’ (Rowan Moore, The Guardian), Studio Weave is a London-based architectural practice set up in 2006. They balance a joyful, open-minded approach with technical precision to create a diverse body of work for public, private and commercial clients based in the UK and abroad.
Valuing idiosyncrasies, they aim to work with the particular strengths and specificities of a project to create something distinctive and of exceptional quality. They recognise that every project they work on is a transformation (as opposed to a static new reality), and enjoy working closely in realising them with everybody involved in and affected by the process – clients, users, funders, neighbours, contractors, consultants and collaborators.
Their work has been acknowledged by a number of awards including the Civic Trust Awards where their project The Longest Bench picked up the Special Award for Community Impact and Engagement, and more recently the 2013 RIBA Awards where the Ecology of Colour won the South East Building of the Year.
Sea Mills Primary School serves the suburban north west of the city of Bristol. Led by Head teacher Miss Kirsteen Craig, the school’s motto is ‘Discovering Together’. They moved to their current site, a purpose built complex at Riverleaze, in the summer of 2012. The school expressed an interest in a public art commission that worked outside of the new build, bringing in possibilities for outdoor teaching and an interaction with green spaces.
This commission is part of a series of public art commissions curated and managed by Arnolfini for the Primary Capital Programme (PCP); a Bristol City Council and LEP,(Local Educational Partnership) initiative designed to transform aging primary schools across England into state-of-the-art learning environments over the next 15 years. More information on Arnolfini’s involvement here.